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News: New £5m Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing and Employ­a­bil­i­ty Cen­tre moves a big step clos­er thanks to funding

Architect's indicative illustration of the new Centre
Architect's indicative illustration of the new Centre

Nottingham College has been successful in attracting grant funding which will unlock investment totalling £5m in its provision for Students with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities (SLDD).

A gov­ern­ment grant of £4m has been award­ed through the FE Trans­for­ma­tion Fund, and togeth­er with £1m from the Col­lege, a new Inde­pen­dent Liv­ing and Employ­a­bil­i­ty Cen­tre will be devel­oped for up to 200 stu­dents who have learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and/​or disabilities.

The new Cen­tre will be built with­in the College’s Bas­ford site, itself the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of a Gov­ern­ment grant back in 2014. This lat­est grant totalling just shy of £4m rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment in FE edu­ca­tion for those with spe­cial edu­ca­tion­al needs. 

The new Grade A, pur­pose-built Cen­tre will be ener­gy effi­cient and offer the lat­est in spe­cial­ist teach­ing and learn­ing resources for SEND edu­ca­tion. The bid, sub­mit­ted back in 2021, was agreed ear­li­er in April and sub­ject to plan­ning approval, the new Cen­tre will be open and avail­able for stu­dents from Sep­tem­ber 2024

The Col­lege cur­rent­ly sup­ports around 90 SLDD stu­dents at its Bas­ford cam­pus but the major­i­ty of its SLDD pro­vi­sion is locat­ed with­in its Arthur Mee Cen­tre in Stapleford. 

Whilst the Col­lege has a long and suc­cess­ful track record of SLDD deliv­ery at the Arthur Mee Cen­tre, the Vic­to­ri­an for­mer school-house is no longer fit for pur­pose and requires sig­nif­i­cant restora­tion and inno­va­tion to meet the spe­cial­ist require­ments of our SLDD learners. 

Trans­port is cur­rent­ly pro­vid­ed for stu­dents in order for them to access pro­vi­sion at Arthur Mee. These same trans­port arrange­ments will be in place for learn­ers access­ing the new site at Bas­ford. It means that learn­ers from all over the city and wider conur­ba­tion can access the new provision. 

Relo­cat­ing the Cen­tre presents a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to bet­ter inte­grate our SLDD pro­vi­sion with edu­ca­tion and train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties already housed with­in the Bas­ford cam­pus, such as con­struc­tion, health­care, ani­mal sci­ence and sport. 

An archi­tec­t’s indica­tive illus­tra­tion for the new Cen­tre depicts a facil­i­ty with all the lat­est equip­ment and resources in mod­ern, light and com­fort­able class­rooms, IT suites, work­shops, train­ing kitchens and com­mu­ni­ty gardens. 

All of our stu­dents deserve the very best learn­ing envi­ron­ments we can offer, and over the last few years, the Col­lege has worked hard to trans­form its estate and deliv­er an improved expe­ri­ence for all. We’re delight­ed to be able to con­tin­ue with our ambi­tions with this new grant, which will not only enable us to deliv­er a new and improved learn­ing envi­ron­ment to our SLDD learn­ers, but allow us to bet­ter inte­grate this spe­cial­ist pro­vi­sion with the vast voca­tion­al pro­vi­sion we already have on offer at our Bas­ford campus. 

We are reduc­ing our phys­i­cal foot­print by about 1200sqm by util­is­ing a more effi­cient, pur­pose-built set­ting, designed specif­i­cal­ly for our SLDD pro­vi­sion, with­out com­pro­mis­ing teach­ing and learn­ing. But, what’s more, we are also able to reduce our car­bon foot­print by some 116,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, a key ele­ment of our broad­er sus­tain­abil­i­ty com­mit­ment, out­lined in our estates strategy. 

 — Mar­tin Sim, Inter­im CEO and Prin­ci­pal for Not­ting­ham College

Bring­ing pro­vi­sion togeth­er into one site presents a num­ber of excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, not least the chance for our con­struc­tion stu­dents to have a real-life project on their doorstep to learn from. For our SLDD learn­ers, I’m real­ly keen to get them involved in the plan­ning and design process for the new build, ensur­ing it best reflects their needs and aspirations. 

This rep­re­sents a once in a gen­er­a­tion invest­ment for SLDD teach­ing and learn­ing and I’m proud to have played my part in secur­ing this oppor­tu­ni­ty for our stu­dents, their fam­i­lies and our staff, who care so pas­sion­ate­ly for the wel­fare and well­be­ing of our SLDD stu­dent community. 

 — Carl Ara, Head of Cen­tre for both Bas­ford and the cur­rent Arthur Mee campus

The Col­lege will not be mov­ing its SLDD pro­vi­sion until the new cen­tre is ready to open in Sep­tem­ber 2024. Between now and then the Col­lege will work with res­i­dents and busi­ness­es in Sta­ple­ford to ensure that Arthur Mee remains a vital com­mu­ni­ty asset. This includes a full fea­si­bil­i­ty analy­sis into its retained use by the Col­lege in the future.

Published on:
  • 28th April 2022 (10:00 AM)
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